Rolex Predictions: 2021 Discontinuations
The year 2020 was one heck of a year in a lot of ways. Interestingly though, it seems the global pandemic is a surefire catalyst for change. Companies are restructuring, people are moving across the country to be closer to family, the Earth is healing, and even Rolex released entirely new watch styles we never expected from them.
But while these are certainly unprecedented times, Rolex discontinuations are not exactly unprecedented. They happen almost every year, sometimes loudly and to the great discontent of watch enthusiasts and sometimes certain models just quietly slip away and you don’t even realize that they’re gone.
Rolex, as we all know, really doesn’t cater to the demands of their customers. They do what they want and what they think is best, and for all of us Rolex suckers out there, we get what we get and we don’t throw a fit. It has worked really well for them for over a century. Now, while they do not cater to demands, they do tend to be a little bit predictable if you pay attention.
When you’ve been in the business (and the hobby) long enough you hear things, and you start to get a feel for how things might play out. There are (at least) three Rolex watches that we strongly believe will be discontinued this year in 2021. This “insider” intuition, in addition to noticing small details on the Rolex website, such as which watch images they choose to use as featured images, which watches they show most on Instagram, and other sneaky little details, we feel quite solid in these predictions. Follow along with us.
1. The Rolex Cellini
In 2020, right after the release of the Sky-Dweller on Oysterflex rubber strap, we wrote about what was all of a sudden missing from the Rolex website. After a quick search, we revealed that almost all of the leather strap options were gone. There were no more alligator/leather strap options on the Sky-Dweller, Day-Dates, or Datejusts. In fact, there were no leather strap options at all except for the Rolex Cellini, and at that point we felt like Rolexes that come factory on leather were soon ending all together.
In 2021, we believe that the Rolex Cellini line will be completely discontinued, with the exception of the most expensive iteration and most Rolex touted, the Cellini Moonphase. It currently sits as the featured image on the Rolex site. At the perfect 39mm size, 18ct Everose gold, and a retail price of $26,750 we believe this will be the only Cellini to withstand the Cellini purge of 2021. Now of course, you can still achieve that iconic leather-on-Rolex look easily with many options at Everest Bands.
2. The Rolex Yacht-Master 40mm in steel
There is talk in the watch world and among ADs that the Rolex Yacht-Master 40mm in Oystersteel will be discontinued in 2021. This seems random, but does make a lot of sense when you think about it. For one, the Yacht-Master in Steel did get the new movement, the caliber 3235 in 2019 but surprisinlgy this wasn’t even mentioned at the 2019 Baselworld fair and there was very little press or fanfare or acknowledgement of this. This alone made us feel like she was on her way out.
For two, the price point of $12,000 is just odd. For example if you are comparing the ref. 116610LN Submariner Date and the ref. 126622 Yacht-Master 40, you can find a lot of similarities except for the price which is about $3,000-$4,000 more for the Yacht-Master. Consumers may wonder what makes the Yacht-Master worth that much more than the Submariner? As someone on a yacht, you might enjoy the Submariner’s 300m depth rating vs the Yacht-Master’s 100m, even though it might make your case a bit more bulky. Sure the Yacht-Master has some platinum which gives it a level of “opulence,” and it is arguably slightly more dressy than the Sub, but what makes it worth the extra $3,000-$4,000 is questionable.
In our opinion, Rolex wants to elevate the Yacht-Master back to its original level of opulence with the focus being on utilizing more precious metals and continuing with the larger, yacht-sized case sizes, which will of course sell at higher prices. Probably if the 40mm is discontinued in steel, the 37mm will be as well, however we will have to wait and see.
3. The candy colored Oyster Perpetual Line
Wait a minute, hold up. Why on Earth would Rolex discontinue something that is one: brand-new, and two: has been so wildly successful for them? Didn’t you know that the OP41 in Turquoise Blue is now selling for over $15,000 (a 3x mark-up) on the gray market and that the waiting lists for other colors are miles long?
Yes, we did know, and we also know that Rolex doesn’t care about this type of thing. Some reasons why we think the OP candy colored line will be discontinued shortly (either in 2021 or 2022 most likely) is first and foremost because the bright colors, although fantastic, are just not on brand with Rolex. These watches scream “limited edition” which is something Rolex loves to create without ever calling it a “limited edition.” Rolex loves having their watches in high demand with long waitlists because it keeps the passion and desire alive. If everyone could get one, would anyone still want one?
Other reasons why we think this is based on their advertising. Even when the Oyster Perpetual line was newly released, Rolex rarely advertised these bright colors or even acknowledged their existence. They had a strong focus on the Champagne/Silver dials and the black dials, but almost never showed the colorful dials despite immense popularity. Again, we know Rolex doesn’t cater to popularity, which is another reason we feel these watches will be discontinued sooner than later.
An example of this is the Oyster Perpetual 39 with white dial, which was wildly popular and really perfect in every way. Despite the demand, it was discontinued after only a year, leaving everyone pining for it.
It would be very cool if Rolex released a white Oyster Perpetual 41 in 2021 to replace the hole in our hearts left behind from the OP39--I guess we will have to wait and see about that one. Maybe the big white hole in our hearts will be filled with the rumored new Explorer II.
Either way, we are excited to see what Rolex releases this April at Watches and Wonders. While we are sad to say goodbye to some of these Rolex classic watches, we know the cure to our sadness is always more cowbell--and Rolex should hopefully be providing that for us very soon!